How to raise up future mission partners from your congregation

Crosslinks

Global mission is God’s agenda from now until Christ returns – so we will always need more people to get involved in overseas mission. How can you identify and develop future mission partners?

1. Preach it

Are your congregation regularly hearing about God’s global agenda from the pulpit? Focusing on mission once a year on a ‘mission Sunday’ communicates that it is not that important. But the whole Bible speaks about God’s mission to reach the world! Frequently remind your church of the biblical mandate to share the good news beyond local boundaries. Also get your mission partners to preach when they come to visit or ask someone from Crosslinks to speak at a service.

2. Pray it

When mission partners and global gospel needs are prayed for regularly from the front, it demonstrates the priority of the task. It helps people look beyond themselves to the lives of others and can plant a seed for personal involvement. Praying corporately also reminds the congregation of the integral part prayer plays in any gospel work. Put global prayer points in the church prayer diary and share your mission partner’s prayer requests with the whole church family. You could use the Crosslinks prayer diary or get tips about praying for your mission partner.

3. Read about it

Stock the church bookstall with missionary biographies and encourage your church members to read about Adoniram Judson, Hudson Taylor, Gladys Aylward and others – their mission mind-set amidst adversity will challenge and inspire. One of our mission partners recently put together a list of his favourite books on mission.

4. Do local cross-cultural ministry

By working together to reach the nations from your local context, you’ll instil a global outlook. It could be outreach to refugees, ministry to international students or reading the Bible with people on secondment here. Not only will this give your church family useful cross-cultural experience, you’ll be having an international impact as you equip people for ministry in their home nations.

5. Build partnerships

Try to grow real, two-way relationships with mission partners. Read their prayer letters, sign-up for regular updates, pray for them each day, share your own prayer points, give financially. As well as doing this as a church, encourage each church member to be individually partnering with mission workers. This will show church members what real life looks like for an overseas gospel worker and what’s driving them to keep going when it’s tough. 

6. Make introductions

Introducing church members to mission partners will show them that missionaries aren’t a special breed of Christian – they are people just like them! This could mean using part of a church service to interview a member of the congregation who has served overseas. Or asking your mission partners to present from the front when they come to visit. Also encourage introductions by organising a church lunch or social time with your mission partners. Make virtual introductions by inviting mission partners to Zoom in and be a part of your home groups. 

7. Travel overseas – locally

You can experience other cultures and worldviews without leaving your own city! Visit shops, restaurants, markets and places of worship from other cultures, as a practical demonstration of the many unreached people groups across the globe. Even an international church lunch can spark a desire to travel further afield for the sake of the gospel.

8. Give

The way the Lord designed global mission to work is for Christians in one location to invest financially in ministry in another (see Philippians 4:18). Encourage everyone to give individually as well as corporately. For those who do go on to serve overseas, it’s a good training ground for when they’ll be relying on others in this way. 

9. Go short-term

Church teams can help at a one-off project (holiday bible club, summer outreach, etc) or visit your church’s mission partners. This will strengthen relationships between church members and your mission partner and you will all learn more about what your mission partner does. It’s also great ministry training for church members wherever they go on to serve – they’ll grow in maturity and excitement for the gospel as they see God at work in a new context. Short-term mission can inspire people in your church to consider longer-term mission themselves, or a new way of serving back home. 

10. Train

The best work experience for full-time service is local church ministry. Church members will only start to see themselves as potential overseas missionaries when they’ve learnt basic ministry skills. Keep training church members to lead bible studies, read the Bible one-to-one with others, disciple younger Christians – as well as bearing fruit in the local church, it could be preparing someone for ministry in the global church. 

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As a mission society, our role is to assist anyone looking to get into mission work. Get in touch, we'd love to chat!

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